New Delhi: After AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, now former union law minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid has reacted to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's suggestion that the new generation should be taught to hail Mother India.
Khurshid said chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' in public should be a matter of choice and not forced upon someone.
"It gives us pride when we sing the national anthem, to see our flag, to say 'Vande Matram'... Some people don't want to do it, it's their choice," Khurshid said.
The Congress leader's remarks followed Owaisi's comments that he will not chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' even if a knife is put to his throat.
"I don't chant that slogan. What are you going to do, Bhagwat sahab," the Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad said.
"I won't utter that (slogan) even if you put a knife to my throat," Owaisi said further, adding, "Nowhere in the Constitution it says that one should say: 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'."
Asked whether he might be booked for sedition for his remarks, Khurshid said the matter should be left to the courts to decide.
"The whole issue of sedition is becoming hotly debated. Let's just leave it to the courts of the country to decide," he said.
On March 3, Bhagwat had said the new generation needs to be taught to chant slogans hailing Mother India, comments which came against the backdrop of the row over alleged anti-India sloganeering on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus.
"Now the time has come when we have to tell the new generation to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' (hail Mother India). It should be real, spontaneous and part of all-round development of the youth," the RSS chief had said.
(With PTI inputs)